Book 228: FACEOFF Review


FACEOFF edited by David Baldacci
ISBN: 9781476762067 (hardback)
ISBN: 9781476762081 (ebook)
ASIN: B00GEEB3WK  (Kindle edition)
Publication date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster


For the first time ever the world’s greatest thriller characters meet head-to-head in 11 electrifying stories.

Where else will you be able to read about Jeffery Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme meets John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport? Fans of Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone and James Rollins’ Gray Piece have waited for years to see those characters together. Then there’s Lee Child’s Jack Reacher meeting up with Joseph Finder’s Nick Heller in a bar in Boston. Steve Martini’s Paul Madriani becoming entangled with Linda Fairstein’s Alex Cooper. Plus, you can’t forget the ever-odd Aloysius Pendergast coming face to face with the scary world of R.L. Stine.

In an unprecedented collaboration, twenty-three of the world’s bestselling and critically acclaimed thriller writers have paired their series characters in an eleven-story anthology curated by the International Thriller Writers (ITW). Edited by #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci, FACEOFF is a who’s who of not only the most beloved contemporary thriller writers, but also their iconic characters–putting them head-to-head with their most worthy opponents.

As worlds collide, the characters you think you know best are thrown into unpredictable situations and partnered with, pitted against, and in some cases, romantically entangled with, characters you’d never suspect–and some that you would. With introductions to the stories that describes the writers, their characters, and a bit about the story’s creation, FACEOFF is truly a treasure trove for thriller fans.


Rhymes with Prey is the short story that features Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs from Jeffery Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme series and Lucas Davenport from John Sandford’s Prey series. I’ve read all of the Lincoln Rhymes books in the past and am a huge fan, but this was the first time I’ve read anything by John Sandford. (Yes, his books are going on my TBR list!) As with the other stories in this anthology, this was a fast-paced and masterful story. Lucas Davenport has been asked to come to New York to assist his friend, NYPD officer Lily Rothenburg in an investigation of a series of murders. Lily fears that these drug-related murders of Latino women may be affiliated with one of the NYPD’s Narcotics squad. Since she isn’t quite sure who she can trust in-house, she has requested Lucas to assist. Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs have been dealing with the forensic evidence from these murders. This two-pronged approach to the investigation quickly reveals that there may be an artistic link to the murders, in addition to the possible police link. All four are pushed to race against the clock as political pressure is applied to the department to quickly solve the case. Can they bring in a suspect, the right suspect, and close the case before the investigation becomes a witch hunt?


Rhymes with Prey was, simply speaking, an amazing read. It was impossible to tell where one writer left off and the other began. The authors were able to provide just the right amount of background into each character to make them familiar to the reader. The action was nonstop and wholly believable. I actually read FACEOFF in one sitting even though I was fighting off a migraine episode. (Yes it is simply that good.)

I’m sure most of you have realized by now that I really enjoy reading mystery-suspense-thrillers. What you may now know is that I’m not really a big fan of short stories or anthologies. However, when you’re given the opportunity to read a collection of short stories featuring some of the best authors and characters in thrillerdom you obviously say “YES!” I just need to add that reading FACEOFF has changed my attitude toward short stories and anthologies for the good. The best thing is I now have a slew of new-to-me authors to begin reading and tons of books to add to my TBR list. If you are a fan of any of these thriller writers or just a fan of short story anthologies, then FACEOFF is a must read.


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via Media Muscle | BookTrib. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



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Book 82: EVIDENCE OF LIFE Review

Evidence of Life by Barbara Taylor Sissel
ISBN:  9780778315162 (paperback)
ISBN:  9781460309735 (ebook)
ASIN:  B00ALTVI9W (Kindle edition)
Publication date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

On the last ordinary day of her life, Abby Bennett feels like the luckiest woman alive. But everyone knows that luck doesn’t last forever.…

As her husband, Nick, and daughter, Lindsey, embark on a weekend camping trip to the Texas Hill Country, Abby looks forward to having some quiet time to herself. She braids Lindsey’s hair, reminds Nick to drive safely and kisses them both goodbye. For a brief moment, Abby thinks she has it all—a perfect marriage, a perfect life—until a devastating storm rips through the region, and her family vanishes without a trace.

When Nick and Lindsey are presumed dead, lost in the raging waters, Abby refuses to give up hope. Consumed by grief and clinging to her belief that her family is still alive, she sets out to find them. But as disturbing clues begin to surface, Abby realizes that the truth may be far more sinister than she imagined. Soon she finds herself caught in a current of lies that threaten to unhinge her and challenge everything she once believed about her marriage and family.

With a voice that resonates with stunning clarity, Barbara Taylor Sissel delivers a taut and chilling mystery about a mother’s love, a wife’s obsession and the invisible fractures that can shatter a family.


Life can change in a single moment and no one knows that better than Abby Bennett. The story begins with her husband and daughter heading off for a weekend camping trip, leaving Abby at home for a little peace and quiet. The area they were headed toward experienced strong storms and flooding and they seem to have just vanished. Although their bodies aren’t recovered, Abby refuses to believe that they are gone. As the months go by, Abby begins to doubt not only her husband, her marriage and her sanity. Is it possible that Nick has left her and taken their daughter? The more Abby refuses to accept the truth, the more she realizes that she may not know it even when it appears.

Evidence of Life is a stirring story of one woman’s search for her family, truth and possibly even her sanity. Abby is pushed by her son, mother and mother-in-law, friends and even law enforcement to accept that her husband and daughter are dead. Month after month goes by with Abby valiantly searching for some sign that Nick and Lindsey are still alive. She finds it impossible to accept that they could just disappear without a trace. Just when it appears that all hope is truly lost, Abby is pulled into a mystery that threatens to shatter her belief in Nick and their marriage. Ms. Sissel has presented a heart-wrenching tale of one woman’s fight to find the truth at all costs. I found Evidence of Life to be a fast-paced, psychological thriller that kept me on edge until the very end. 


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Excerpt: THREE SISTERS

Three Sisters (Blackberry Island #2) by Susan Mallery
ISBN: 9780778314349 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781460306390 (ebook)
ASIN: B00A9V1DF6 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: February 26, 2013

After Andi Gordon is jilted at the altar, she makes the most impetuous decision of her life – buying one of the famed Three Sisters Queen Anne houses on Blackberry Island. Now the proud-ish owner of the ugly duckling of the trio, she plans to open her own pediatric office on the first floor, just as soon as her hunky contractor completes the work. Andi’s new future may be coming together, but the truth is she’s just as badly in need of a major renovation as her house. 

When Deanna Phillips confronts her husband about a suspected affair, she opens up a Pandora’s Box of unhappiness. And he claims that she is the problem. The terrible thing is, he’s right. In her quest to be the perfect woman, she’s lost herself, and she’s in danger of losing her entire family if things don’t change. 

Next door, artist Boston King thought she and her college sweetheart would be married forever. Their passion for one other has always seemed indestructible. But after tragedy tears them apart, she’s not so sure. Now it’s time for them to move forward, with or without one another. 

Thrown together by fate and geography, and bound by the strongest of friendships, these three women will discover what they’re really made of: laughter, tears, love and all.




Book excerpt:

“I’d love a cup of coffee,” she said.

 Boston led the way across the ragged grass to her own yard, then up the steps to the front door. Andi noticed the boards that made up the porch floor had been painted dark blue, and there were stars and planets scattered around. The front door was dark wood with stained-glass panels.

The eclectic mix of traditional décor and whimsy continued in the foyer. A Shaker-style bench stood by a coatrack. On the wall was a mirror framed by silver squirrels and birds. The living room to the left had comfortable sofas and chairs, but there was a huge painting of a naked fairy over the fireplace.

 Boston led the way down a narrow hallway, painted bloodred, and into a bright, open kitchen. There were cobalt-blue-painted cabinets, sleek, stainless appliances and a gray-and-blue marble countertop. The smell of coffee mingled with fragrant cinnamon and apples.

“Have a seat,” Boston said, pointing at stools pulled up against the breakfast bar. “I just heated a couple of scones. I have cinnamon apple butter I made last fall.”

Andi thought of the protein bar and cup of coffee that had been her breakfast and heard her stomach growl. “That sounds great. Thanks.”

She took the offered seat. Boston opened the oven and removed a cookie sheet with two large scones on it. The apple butter was in a glass jar. Boston put the scones on a plate and passed one over, then poured coffee.

“Just black for me,” Andi told her.

“Ah, a true coffee drinker. I have to conceal my caffeine in hazelnut and vanilla.”

She got the flavored creamer from the refrigerator.




About the author:

With more than 25 million books sold worldwide, New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery is known for creating characters who feel as real as the folks next door, and for putting them into emotional, often funny situations readers recognize from their own lives. Susan’s books have made Booklist’s Top 10 Romances list in four out of five consecutive years. RT Book Reviews says, “When it comes to heartfelt contemporary romance, Mallery is in a class by herself.” With her popular, ongoing Fool’s Gold series, Susan has reached new heights on the bestsellers lists and has won the hearts of countless new fans.

Susan grew up in southern California, moved so many times that her friends stopped writing her address in pen, and now has settled in Seattle with her husband and the most delightfully spoiled little dog who ever lived. 

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